Premier Christy Clark will be acclaimed Saturday night as the Liberal Party of B.C.’s candidate in Westside-Kelowna for next year’s provincial election.
With the election still eight month’s away, Clark, the riding’s incumbent MLA, will combine her nomination meeting with her annual Beans and Jeans community engagement event, to be held at Byland’s Nursery in West Kelowna.
Organizers say they are expecting about 400 people to attend the event, at which Clark will be acclaimed as the candidate because no one has stepped forward to challenge her for the nomination.
Clark easily won the riding in a byelection in 2013, a few months after losing her previous seat in Vancouver.
On election night in 2013, veteran Liberal MLA Ben Stewart, whose family owns Quail’s Gate Estate Winery in West Kelowna, easily held the Westside-Kelowna riding for the Liberals.
In that election, Clark led a surprise come-from-behind victory for the Liberals, who just a few weeks earlier were being counted out by most political pundits.
Pre-election polls pointed to a decisive NDP win.
But while Clark confounded her critics and political experts alike—it came at a personal cost to her. She lost her own Vancouver-area seat to her NDP challenger.
Stewart surprised many shortly after the election when he announced he was stepping down to allow Clark, then premier without a seat in the B.C. Legislature, an opportunity to run in a byelection here.
When she won the byelection a few months later, some were openly skeptical about her promise to run there again in 2017 given her Lower Mainland roots and the fact the she had represented Vancouver-area and Port Moody-area ridings during all her previous years in the B.C. Legislature.
But standing with Stewart at his family’s winery in West Kelowna, and saying she would like to emulate former area MLAs the late Bill Bennett and his late father WAC Bennet—both former premiers of B.C.—Clark said she was here to stay.
Clark later named Stewart B.C.’s trade representative in China.
Since becoming the Westside-Kelowna MLA, Clark has bought a home in West Kelowna and regularly spends time in her riding dealing with local issues and spending personal time with her son.
The riding, which covers West Kelowna, also includes part of downtown Kelowna.
The next provincial election is scheduled for May 9, 2017.